Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”


Many of our readers will have seen articles on this elsewhere in recent days, we make no apologies, however, for posting something so relevant to our shared Faith and to the glorious history of our beloved Order.

The image above is of a recently rediscovered statue of the Virgin of the Rosary, which was borne upon his flagship, the Galera Real, by Don John of Austria, Admiral of the Fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

It is upon this beautiful face, now scarred by time and the weather, that many of our brethren in the Order of Malta would have looked on the last day of their life and work for the Order, and before whom they uttered their last prayers. For them and for countless others, it was this sacred image which inspired them to one of the greatest naval victories against the mohammedan forces. The Victory was attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the feast instituted by Pope St Pius V that same year in commemoration.

For many recent years this statue has been lost, but has now been found, and is displayed in the Spanish Naval Museum. Now she is to be restored.  See the article in Spanish HERE.

The statue, of exquisite craftsmanship, delicately painted, with glass eyes, in the finest tradition of the high period of Spanish religious statuary (as seen in the London National Gallery exhibition last year), was almost certainly made in Spain, and was the gift to Don John by the Venetian Republic, as a votive offering. After the battle she was in the care of the Brotherhood of the Galleys in the church of St John de Lebron in Puerto de Santa Maria near Cadiz in southern Spain. Later she was in the possession of the  Spanish Royal Naval College, where the weather took a further toll.

For over four hundred years, her sad expression has retained the awful memories of the dreadful battle; the single glass eye which now stares out at us once surveyed all the bloody horror of war. May her pious regard continue to inspire all Christians in our own generation in our battle for the Catholic Faith.
The Battle of Lepanto.  The Admiral's galley is in the centre foreground, one row back.
It is on the quarterdeck that the statue stood during the battle, sadly unseen in this painting.
(Click to enlarge painting)

(H/T to WDTPRS and Hermeneutic of Continuity)

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